New twist to Trauma Centre saga

HARARE - Vivek Solanki’s Trauma Centre saga has taken a new twist after the medical institution approached the courts, claiming that it was robbed of over $180 000 together with company files by a rival team of shareholders.

Solanki filed the application on Thursday seeking to bar South Africa-based African Medical Investments Plc (AMI), a company registered on the London Stock Exchange, from using one of his company’s names Streamsleigh Investments (Private) Limited.

This is the latest episode in a convoluted legal battle between Solanki, a renowned medical doctor and entrepreneur, against his ex-partners namely Andrew Groves and Phillipe Edmonds, both of them British citizens; Joseph Cleverdon, an American citizen and managers Jeremy Sanford, Peter Annesley, Peter Botha, Liz Gordon, Rodrique Mlauzi, Butch Rodrigues, Brett Windstone, Neil Clayton, Wayne Stolts, Paul Stevenson among others whom he accuses of trying to fraudulently appropriate the business and assets using intimidation, violence and contacts in the CID and CIO of Zimbabwe.

Solanki has presented his case in court, seeking to consolidate ownership of the hospital he built and managed for nearly two decades.

The majority of Solanki’s ex-partners are Rhodesians with military and police backgrounds. The major shareholder and backer is American billionaire Philip Falcone who is gaining a strong foothold on African businesses. The business sharks who staged the boardroom coup on Solanki are also involved in various “mining operations” under London Stock Exchange (LSE) listed Sable Mining Africa Ltd.

He said the this was the latest of many legal actions against AMI Plc, its directors and managers. Under a management agreement, Solanki teamed with a group of investors to build hospitals across Africa and manage existing clinics in South Africa and Zimbabwe, in exchange for shares of publicly traded company AMI Plc.

After building new hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Maputo and Harare plus a clinic in Cape Town in a period of 18 months, Solanki clashed with AMI Plc directors Andrew Groves and Phil Edmonds over alleged money laundering and falsification of documents. What broke the camel’s back was an argument over the alleged overpricing of the purchase of a personal private jet by AMI director Andrew Groves.

The hospital is embroiled in an ownership wrangle with Streamsleigh Investments operating under AMI and Autoband Investments, under the directorship of the major shareholder Solanki.

In his court papers, Solanki says he is the beneficial owner of Streamsleigh Investments.

“On the 1st July 2010, respondent (AMI) forcefully took over my Trauma Centre, Harare,” he said.

“On the strength of the robbery, my manager Zarina Dudhia and Chandri Prudji were instantly suspended by Jeremy Sanford.”

Autoband Investments (Private) Limited, which trades as Trauma Centre, is the applicant together with Streamsleigh Investments, in the application filed against AMI.

Solanki claims the company’s name was taken over through fraudulent means following a robbery by AMI officials, in a case he said he is struggling to bring before the courts. During the robbery, it is alleged cash and company documents were stolen.

“I must point out that I have faced stiff resistance to have the robbery matter prosecuted,” Solanki said. “As a result of the robbery, respondent took second applicant’s (Streamsleigh Investments) documents from the safe and stole from me.”

Solanki also attached an affidavit by a director of AMI’s sister company, Jeremy Sanford, responding to the robbery allegations.

“Because of allegations of mismanagement of funds and fraud at the Trauma Centre made by employees and third parties, AMI approached me as a director of a sister company to AMI to initiate investigations,” Sanford said.

“This was initiated at 4pm on July 1, 2010, where in the presence of Superintendent Marodze of the Fraud Squad, the cash was counted and handed over to me and the maroon Toyota Prado, the keys to the office and a laptop.

“I give this statement as a true and correct record of the events which led to the allegations of the robbery."

Solanki said after the robbery, AMI has been masquerading as Streamsleigh, and has also gone to obtain court judgements using the same name.

AMI Plc management illegally seized what was one of Solanki’s “flagship projects”, the Trauma Center in Belgravia, including his personal possessions such as household furniture, motor vehicles and religious artefacts.

Solanki was booted out after auditors uncovered understatement of revenue at the Trauma Centre, excessive profits taken by an intermediary supplier, supply of goods and services for personal use charged to the company, supplier payments to employees, payroll irregularities and falsification of supplier invoices.

Chairman Edmonds said the discovery of the financial “irregularities had come as a “huge shock”, which had been “highly distractive" hence the decision to boot out Solanki.

Solanki has challenged the “libelous allegations” which appeared in the press in the past months at what he alleged was at the instigation of his ex-partners at AMI Plc.

Claims of pending Interpol arrest warrants and absconding, for example, are being de facto proved false by Solanki’s latest legal action.

Solanki said he has been in Zimbabwe for several months defending and fighting for his rights and return of his medical business and other personal assets, and hoped to continue serving the community through the Trauma Centre.

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